7 Best Noise Gate Pedals (That Don’t Kill Your Tone)

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  • Why do guitarists use noise gates?
  • What makes a guitar noisier than others?
  • We look at the best noise gate pedals you can find on the market today.

Noise gate pedals have become a necessity to deal with unwanted noises without affecting the original tone and feel of your playing. These stompboxes can operate according to the wishes of the user, allowing you to keep any unwanted noise to a minimum.

Manufacturers have taken notice of their popularity and each major pedal company features at least one gate effect pedal on their line. Because there are so many options in the market, we’ve put together this guide to make things easier for you.

What Are The 7 Best Noise Gate Pedals?

Our pick for the best noise gate pedal is the TC Electronic Sentry. It is simple to use but includes enough features to let you dial in your noise gate precisely where you want it, and have it respond nicely to your playing.

The Sentry is also very affordable, making it hard to beat at this range. For those on a tight budget, the Donner Noise Killer Gate Pedal is a good choice as well. And for those that want a true workhorse and versatile noise gate pedal, the Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor is our versatile choice.

Our choices for 7 best noise gate pedals are:

  • TC Electronic Sentry
  • Donner Noise Killer Gate Pedal
  • Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor
  • ISP Technologies Decimator II
  • MXR M135 Smart Gate Pedal
  • Electro-Harmonix Silencer Noise Gate
  • TC Electronic Iron Curtain

1. TC Electronic Sentry

TC Electronic has become one of the premier companies for guitar effects pedals, releasing a stream of reliable and trusted products.

You can use the TC Electronic Sentry to give you organic sounding and seamless noise reduction. The decay also sounds very natural, with no choppy cut-offs. All in all, this is a fantastic noise gate pedal and is our top pick for this list.

BEST OVERALL
TC Electronic Sentry Noise Gate

Get a noise-free and dynamic performance with the TC Electronic Sentry Noise Gate pedal. Utilizing TC's cutting-edge multiband System 6000 algorithms, the Sentry Noise Gate gives you seamless, organic-sounding noise reduction.

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Features

  • Based on System 6000 algorithms
  • Multiband or Hard noise gate modes
  • TonePrint Editor software for access to downloadable presets
  • Choice of buffered or true-bypass via an internal switch
  • High-quality analog and digital components

Review

The TC Electronic Sentry Noise Gate pedal features three dedicated pots: Threshold, which sets the gate’s sensitivity; Damp, which controls the rate of the gate’s closing, and Decay, for regulating how your notes fade in relation to the gate’s aperture.

There are also two modes alongside the TonePrint option, accessed by a three-way micro toggle. Gate relates to the pedal’s single-band gate nature, and on the other hand, Hiss is the multiband option that is best suited to eliminating hisses and spits.

This noise gate pedal also features a mono effects loop to allow you to feed any noise-producing items like overdrive and fuzz pedals into it. This is a great feature because it allows the gate to be triggered by the direct signal, and not by the noise produced by your vintage distortion pedal.

The best way to set up this pedal with tight accuracy is through your computer or iPad using the TonePrint editor. It takes a little bit of time to figure it out, but it’s certainly worth it and quite easy to use once you get the hang of it.

The Sentry noise gate pedal works great for removing single-coil hum without infringing on the tone. When in Hiss mode, it’s also easy to find the threshold. You will need only a couple of minutes to set the decay and damp to suit your tastes.

The pedal’s LED changes from red to green when the gate is open, too, which helps greatly in finding the sweet spot. Overall, this is a fantastic noise gate pedal from TC Electronic.

2. Donner Noise Killer Gate Pedal

If you are strapped for cash and your pedalboard is almost full, then the Donner Noise Killer gate pedal is a particularly good choice. This mini pedal offers gating at a very reduced price and size.

Its simple design and trademark Donner durable chassis are two great features, that along with its low price and diminutive form factor, make the Noise Killer our budget choice for this list.

BEST BUDGET CHOICE
Donner Noise Killer Gate Pedal
$39.99

The Noise Killer is a super easy-to-use smart noise gate pedal with two noise reduction modes. The fast noise detection and smooth attack/release keeps everything quiet without affecting the notes you play.

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Features

  • Smart, fast noise detection and smooth attack/release time.
  • Whole aluminum-alloy durable construction
  • True bypass
  • Noise reduction degree: -70dB – +10dB.
  • Works with a DC 9V Adapter power supply, not included

Review

The Noise Killer gate pedal features a true bypass switch, a threshold knob, and a hard/soft mode switch. It is so small that it cannot fit anything else, but it will almost certainly fit in your pedalboard.

The Donner Noise Killer is really straightforward and easy to use. Simply insert it wherever you think it’ll work best in your chain (usually first), turn the threshold knob until any background noise disappears, and then fine-tune it from there.

If you turn it up too high it’ll choke the tone or cut notes off sooner than anticipated so make sure you are certain it’s set right before recording or playing a show. However, this is a quick process as once the level is set you can choose between hard and soft mode which controls how quickly the gate cuts in. There is an audible difference between the two so make sure you familiarize yourself with how each mode sounds first.

For lead playing or softer rhythm work it’s usually better to have a softer gate, but if you’re mainly playing heavy riffs and you want them to sound accurate when you mute, use hard mode.

The Donner Noise Killer does its job very well for a gate pedal at this price range. It is a definite strong option for those musicians that are close to broke or just want to spend money elsewhere.

3. Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor

MOST VERSATILE
BOSS NS-2 Noise Suppressor
$102.99

The NS-2 effectively eliminates noise and hum of the input signal while preserving the original sound's tonality. The natural attack and envelope are unaffected thanks to the NS-2's unique noise detection circuit that precisely separates the guitar sound and the noise components.

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No stompbox list is complete without a BOSS pedal. The poster company of the stompbox paradigm created the NS-2 Noise Suppressor Pedal to effectively eliminate noise and hum while preserving the original sound’s tonality.

The natural attack and envelope are unchanged thanks to the NS-2’s unique noise detection circuit that accurately separates the guitar sound and the noise components.

That makes it a great choice for many styles and types of players. Because of this, the NS-2 is our pick for the most versatile noise gate pedal on this list.

Features

  • Compact noise suppression pedal for eliminating noise and hum in guitar and bass effects and amplifier setups
  • Noise detection circuit preserves the natural attack and envelope
  • Threshold and Decay knobs allow for shaping the elimination/suppression as desired
  • 9 V power supply sold separately (also works with 9v battery)
  • Sturdy and durable chassis

Review

The BOSS NS-2 has been around for a long time and is still popular among many guitarists. It features a clean and simple interface with three main control knobs: Threshold, Decay, and Mode. The threshold knob controls the level at which the gate will kick in.

The decay knob regulates the speed at which the gate closes. In theory, if you set the threshold at minimum and decay at the maximum you will get a very natural sound, while the opposite will give you an extreme sound.

The mode knob allows you to toggle between the pedal’s modes. The standard mode is Reduction, meaning that when the pedal is engaged, the gate is on, and when the pedal is disengaged, the gate is off.

The mute mode functions slightly differently: when the pedal is engaged, your input signal is completely muted, and when the pedal is disengaged the noise gate is on. So in mute mode, the pedal is always engaged, and the red light at the top of the pedal indicates that the mute function is engaged.

The NS-2 features a second red light, labeled Reduction to avoid any confusion. When this light is on, the gate is active.

Besides the input and output, the BOSS NS-2 noise suppressor pedal essentially has its own loop as it also features send and return sockets. This gives you better control over the effects that you would like for the gate to act on.

4. ISP Technologies Decimator II Noise Reduction Pedal

The Decimator II Noise Reduction Pedal is ISP Technologies’s best-selling pedal for a good reason. This pedal is the second version of the original Decimator and has developed a stellar reputation among well-informed guitar players.

It offers great performance, very durable construction, and easy to use operation.

ISP Technologies Decimator II Noise Reduction Pedal

ISP's Decimator II noise gate guitar pedal ups the ante over the original Decimator design to give you even better noise reduction. The Decimator II sports linearized Time Vector Processing in its expander tracking, giving you incredibly smooth sustained-note decay that's virtually free of release rippling.

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Features

  • Easy to use one-knob design
  • Linearized Time Vector Processing improves release-response smoothness and transparency
  • Virtually eliminates release ripple for buttery-smooth note decay
  • 1/8″ Link jacks network 2 pedals to accurately track your input signal
  • Built like a tank

Review

The ISP Technologies Decimator II Noise Reduction Pedal offers a very simple control arrangement. It has only one knob to work with, and it does not get any simpler than that.

This knob goes from – 70 dB to + 10 dB and allows you to adjust the volume at which the effect kicks in. It is quite sensitive and lets you choose the exact point at which you want the noise to cease.

The ISP Technologies Decimator II also features enhancements in the expander tracking with their new Linearized Time Vector Processing. This improvement provides a more linear release time-constant response for the exponential release curve of the downward expander.

While increasing expansion and dynamically changing its response to fit the envelope of the input signal, the release response stays linear over a given time period.

This increases the smoothness of the release response of the expander while also effectively eliminating any release ripple. In return, this produces smooth decay of longer sustained notes.

When it comes to guitar noise gate pedals, it is hard to beat the simplicity and functionality of the Decimator II. It just gets the job done with a no-nonsense approach that appeals to many savvy guitarists out there.

5. MXR M135 Smart Gate Pedal

The MXR M135 Smart Gate Pedal offers intelligent gating that acts according to context. This makes this pedal very musical and useful, as well as one of the best gate pedals in the market.

Renowned guitar players like Zoltan Bathory from 5 Finger Death Punch, and Frank Iero from My Chemical Romance use the M135 Smart Gate, and perhaps you should consider it too.

MXR M135 Smart Gate Noise Gate
$129.99

When you're holding a chord, the M135 Smart Gate reacts slowly so your sustain is never cut off. Get into fast palm-muted fury, and the M135 Smart Gate snaps into action, adding incredible definition to your playing. 

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Features

  • Works with electric guitar or bass
  • Intelligent gating means the gate reacts slowly when you’re holding sustained notes, and faster when your playing speeds up
  • Variable threshold lets you control how much gating is taking place
  • Three operation modes: Hiss for high-frequency noise, Mid for noisy guitar amps, and Full for wide-range signals and bass rigs
  • Built to last

Review

The MXR M135 Smart Gate offers a performance that is more developed and a bit more complex in general. The housing of this pedal features a standard MXR rugged enclosure with a basic graphic design and excellent durability.

This pedal features three modes: Hiss, Mid, and Full. When Hiss is selected, the pedal eliminates the extraneous hiss. Mid is where the gate effect is increased, but not fully present, and finally Full is your standard noise gate mode.

The MXR M135 Smart Gate features a Threshold knob that allows you to dial in the exact volume where the effect kicks in. The three modes mentioned are controlled by a single three-way switch located in the upper right corner of the pedal.

Right across from this is a button labeled Hi Trigger Range. Once activated, the pedal becomes a lot more precise in the given volume range.

Overall, the MXR M135 is one of the more unique noise gate designs in the market today. It has all the specs we’ve come to expect from an MXR stompbox and will get the job done, even in those signal chains that don’t deal well with noise gate pedals.

6. Electro-Harmonix Silencer Noise Gate

Electro Harmonix is a company that needs no introduction for guitarists. They’re responsible for a plethora of classic pedals, all with stellar features, construction, and distinctive looks.

The same is true of the Silencer Noise Gate, a pedal that is simple to use and does a brilliant job at noise suppression.

Electro-Harmonix Silencer Noise Gate

Silence your signal chain while expanding your routing options with the Electro-Harmonix The Silencer noise gate/effects loop. This dual function pedal starts off with a versatile noise gate that you can tweak to your desired settings. 

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Features

  • Noise gate with a built-in effects loop
  • Fine-tune the noise gate with Threshold, Reduction, and Release controls
  • Noise reduction is variable from -70dB to +4dB
  • Release time can be set between 8ms and 4 seconds
  • Use the Send output jack with the built-in loop or as a secondary output

Review

The Silencer is a sophisticated noise gate that lets you apply a noise gate to a single pedal or to an entire effects loop. It features a three-control layout that provides precise fine-tuning to fit your system playing style.

The Threshold control adjusts how much level is required to open the noise gate and allow a signal to pass. Reduction regulated the degree to which the gated signal is decreased and is variable between -70dB and +4dB.

Release controls how long the gate stays open after the signal drops below the Threshold, with the release time variable between 8ms and 4 seconds.

The EHX Silencer features quarter-inch Input, Output, Send and Return jacks. The footswitch selects whether the effect is engaged or in bypass mode; buffered bypass allows the effects loop to remain in your signal path when the gate is bypassed.

A built-in AC jack accepts a standard power supply and the pedal comes with a 9V battery.

7. TC Electronic Iron Curtain

The TC Electronic Iron Curtain features a simple and intuitive 2-knob operation as well as an all-analog design.

This design uses high-quality components and has absolutely zero tolerance for unwanted noise – which explains the otherwise peculiar name.

TC Electronic Iron Curtain Noise Gate Pedal

This noise gate pedal eliminates radio frequency interference and 60-cycle hum without a trace, resulting in a clean-sounding, noise-free rig. Additionally, thanks to its streamlined 2-knob interface, this stompbox is a breeze to use.

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Features

  • Easy to use 2-knob interface design
  • The threshold knob sets the level at which the gate activates
  • Decay knob sets how quickly the gate activates
  • True bypass design to keep your tone when the effect isn’t in use
  • Roadworthy metal housing

Review

This TC Electronic Iron Curtain Noise gate pedal eliminates radio frequency interference and 60-cycle hum, resulting in a clean-sounding, noise-free playing experience.

It features a streamlined 2-knob interface that makes this stompbox quite easy to use. Just adjust the Threshold knob until the noise disappears, then tweak the Decay knob to safeguard against premature gating.

This pedal is built like a tank and features rugged and roadworthy metal housing. Additionally, its true bypass design maintains your tone when the effect is not in use.

Because of its low price, the Iron Curtain is also a good choice for musicians that are on a tight budget but want a noise gate pedal that is durable and will do the job.

(For a breakdown of true vs buffered bypass, check out True Bypass vs Buffered (Differences Explained Simply))

Wrapping Up

Any of these pedals on this list will work well as a noise gate, but I encourage you to read more about their specific features to make sure you choose the right one for your playing.

If you play a Strat or Tele, there are plenty of other pickups you can look at for reducing noise and improving your guitar tone. Check out our other articles to find a pickup that works for you: